Relationships
If your relationship marriage is having problems, you shouldn’t wait too long to seek professional help.

Marriage Counseling with a Qualified Marriage and Family Therapist

Choosing the right partner in life may be one of the biggest and most significant decisions you will make in your lifetime. The quality of the relationship between you and your partner can impact your happiness and your level of trust, commitment, respect, support, passion and sexual desire for one another.

Ninety percent of Americans marry, but fifty percent of those marriages end in divorce. In fact, the average marriage in California lasts just seven years. Seventy-five percent of those who divorce, remarry, but sixty-five percent of those marriages also end in divorce.

The best way to ensure that you and your partner beat the odds and have a long, satisfying marriage is to explore all personal and marital issues and get the skills and training you need together, before you marry. It is important to seek pre-marital counseling to discuss mutual expectations, cultural and religious differences, lifestyle and feelings about children before you marry, not after. Pre-marital counseling with a professional marriage counselor can help you chart the course.

When should you and your partner seek pre-marital counseling:
When you are young and have never been married.

When you have been too long in a courtship, been engaged for more than nine years, or plan on marrying but haven’t, it’s time to understand what may be delaying the marriage.

When one partner is “commitment-phobic.” Find out what lies at the root of the fear so you can move forward in your relationship, or move on.

If you have constant disagreement about issues related to money, children, chores, work, sex or a host of other things. Now is the time to learn how to address differences.

When you have been unsuccessful at a marriage and want to try again. Every happy, successful couple has as many as 10 areas of “irreconcilable differences,” but they accept and respect them as part of their relationship.

But what if you’ve tied the knot and pre-marital counseling is no longer an option? If you are already married and either never received pre-marital counseling or feel that your marriage is still in need of professional guidance, then we encourage you to read the following information and ask yourself these questions:

Is your marriage heading towards divorce?
You no longer attend social events together

Family gatherings are limited

You experience diminished sexual activity or no sexual activity

You do not spend much time together

You do not sleep in the same bed

One or both of you is having an affair

You and your spouse have frequent arguments

There is a loss of interest in maintaining the marriage

It feels as if you and your spouse have grown completely apart

You harvest resentment towards your partner

If you’ve had recurring thoughts about separation or divorce

How can you help save your marriage right now?
Find a marriage and family therapist

Make a conscious decision to put in the effort

Start openly and honestly communicating with your partner about your feelings

Give compliments to one another

Don’t bring up mistakes of the past

Forgive one another

Don’t go to bed when you are fighting

Don’t let your children run your marriage

Take time for each other

Jointly decide what you both want your marriage to look like
How can a marriage and family therapist help?

Marriage and family therapists are relationship experts. They help couples uncover and effectively communicate about conflicts and issues that are impacting their marriage, teach the tools and skills needed to manage and salvage their relationship, like learning to work together rather than against each other.

If ultimately divorce is the answer, a professional divorce counselor can help you deal with the painful process, teach you how to adjust through the transition and help you and your family recover from divorce. The involvement of a divorce counselor will also help both parties communicate their post-divorce expectations effectively and civilly. A divorce counselor can also help you find support groups and organizations for children or parents who have gone through or are going through the throes of divorce.

Resource: California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, 2009. Website: http://www.therapistfinder.com/c_marriage.cfm

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